February 12, 2019

Tips For Making Inexpensive Moss Balls


These are tips that I have gathered from other tutorials on making 
moss balls at home (like here and here) and more ideas that I tried
 while making them myself and want to share with you. 

Packages of moss are easy to find in the floral section of stores.
Some stores have more than one type of moss. Here is a photo
of the kinds that you will probably see...

...starting on the left of the photo is Spanish moss that has been 
color-enhanced green...it is more grey in its natural state. 
This bag came from Wal-Mart and was $6 which I think is a very
good value for the size of the bag. Spanish moss is not my 
favorite for making moss balls but (it actually turned out 
better than I thought it would on the balls) is the cheapest option. 

The center bags in the photo are sheet moss. They have almost a velvet look to them. Sheet moss is in the bag usually in about 
three to four sections that have some dirt on the back holding the moss together. Look at several different bags in the store and buy
the ones that have less visible dirt. You get more usable moss. 

The moss in the upper right of the moss types photo is forest moss which is very similar to sheet moss but it has more texture. 

The smaller moss bags in the moss types photo are from Dollar Tree. I have used the moss stones in other projects but they are
 not the best for making balls. The reindeer moss from there is  stringy shreds of moss...I don't recommend it for balls. 

If you find a moss you like at Hobby Lobby, Michael's or Jo Ann's try to have a discount coupon to buy it with. The coupon
will get the cost of most of the bags to about $5 or less. How
 many moss balls you can make from one bag depends of how 
big you want to make the ball(s).

Another item that can add cost to the ball is the form to put
the moss on. Most folks use a styrofoam ball for this. When you
are making smaller balls the cost for them is about $1 each.

If you want larger moss balls the styrofoam form for those goes 
up in price quickly. 

I tried making the forms for some of my balls from plastic bags
and newspaper to basically make them no-cost forms (if you 
already have some tape or string to make them keep their shape).

Start by crumpling the paper or plastic in a ball in your hand.
Keep adding more layers but keep the round shape. When the
ball gets too big to easily hold in your hand, tie string (or add
tape) to the ball to keep the layers together while you add more.

When it gets to the size you want, tie or tape it together. 

This form is about 7 inch diameter. It made a large moss ball. 

If you want small or average size balls just tie or tape it 
together at the size you want. Remember that once you put the 
moss on your form, the moss will make the ball a little bigger. 

Look around your house or attic for other things you could use
for a form for your moss balls. I found this old box of decorative
balls that I had never used. They got moss covered. 

Another cost in making moss balls is getting to moss to stick on
the form. Spray adhesive is a popular product to use for this.
A can of spray adhesive usually starts at about $6. Different 
brands and amounts of product in the can make the price vary.

The spray adhesive can in the above picture is from Hobby Lobby.
I used a discount coupon to get it less than the $7 price. 

I was really impressed at how well the spray adhesive worked on
all types of forms I used it on. A slight drawback to the spray is
that (in my opinion) it should only be used outside. Even then, you
should protect your surface if you don't want it to get sticky. 

I  didn't mind getting my dead grass sticky so I just placed the
form on the grass and sprayed all of the surface of the form that was facing up for the first spray. Then I picked it up with two fingers and brought it back to the porch table where I had the 
moss ready to go. I placed moss on the sticky side of the
 form and patted it down. 

Then I carried the partially moss covered ball back in the grass
and sprayed the portion of the ball that had not gotten adhesive
the first time around. 

Then the ball went back to the table for the rest of it to get moss. 
It probably took less than two minutes to cover a ball this way. 
This ball got the forest moss that has more texture. 

Here are photos of Spanish moss being used with the same process...

If the Spanish moss ball has too many ends sticking up,
you can give it a haircut. 

I had gone the Dollar Tree to look for things that could be used for
forms but the only thing I could find that day was a cat toy. 

Even that worked.

If you don't have the outdoor space, are working on these moss balls at night or don't want to use propellant, almost any type of white glue from a bottle does a very good job of making the
 moss stick to the form too. It is usually cheaper to buy than the spray adhesive (or you might already have some at your home). 

The form in the photo above is made from plastic bags, painters tape and string. 
The glue is from Dollar Tree and the sheet moss is from Wal-Mart $4.

Squirt a generous amount of glue on the form in one area.

Put moss on top of the glue and pat it down. Continue to put glue
in adjacent areas that already have moss around the form.
 Put moss on top of new glue area and pat/push it into the glue.
This technique keeps your hands from getting a lot of glue on them.

 If the moss overlaps where you don't have glue yet just squirt
 it on as you are placing the moss on the form. 

The moss will probably overlap other pieces as you place it on.
Just tear the moss where needed. This is messy. It is easier to
clean up after this project if you work on something you can 
throw away in the end. Use torn off pieces of moss to cover
any blank areas on the form. 

Here's another moss ball made the same way...


If you have some moss that does not want to stick well with the
white glue (like if it has a lot of dirt attached to the moss or the
form has a bumpy surface) you can glue half of the ball and
moss it. Then secure that half with string and let the glue dry. 

After that moss is secure with the dried glue you can cut 
the string and finish the other half the same way. 
This was an old berry ball that had seen better days. 

I did make some of the moss balls with hot glue but I got a 
lot of burned fingers so I am not going to recommend that.
It does work, however, if you want to try it. 

I also tried making the moss balls with the mat moss (moss
that is attached to a fabric-like grid and in a uniform sheet).
I thought it was much harder to make the moss conform to
 the shape of the balls even with cutting it a lot. The mat moss
also is more expensive than the loose moss. 

I did not try any reindeer moss balls even though I have seen
them and think they are adorable. I may be wrong but it seems
like it would take a lot of the reindeer moss to cover a ball and
I was going for inexpensive moss balls. 

Here's how I used the moss balls in changing out some of the
winter decor in my living room and dining room to introduce
some spring green color...






Click on the highlighted text below if you would like to 
see the post showing more photos of moss in my home...

want to see a tutorial on how to make the cousins of moss 
balls which are moss bowls. They are quite trendy now. 

Moss balls are great decor items that can be used almost year
around. They add natural texture, color and style to your home
or can be used for parties and weddings. Using these tips you 
can make them yourself inexpensively...plus it is fun!

I am sharing this post at this blog party...
It's A Party @ DIY By Design

6 comments

  1. Those are wonderful! Thank you so much for the lesson, I'm impressed! I love the photographs too, awesome decorations!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found some moss at Joanns that comes on a roll and has a peel off sticky back to it. It is pricey but with a coupon you will get nearly a yard that goes a long way. Even with the sticky back I still needed to use my glue gun for certain portions. I used this moss to cover some inexpensive lanterns to create a woodland effect with my lanterns. The effect far exceeded my expectations and a friend ended up borrowing them for part of the tablescape for her daughter's wedding.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tutorial on making these moss balls. I always have a few bags around for topping my new plants. I need to use it now that Christmas is over. I really love your hutch, the stems and moss balls really pop.
    Happy Valentine's Day........

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great project and they look lovely where you have the displayed!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!! I think that in about 10 years or so, we will be selling our house and moving into a maintenance free apartment...
    Have a great weekend!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
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